Local and tourist perceptions of coastal marine habitats in Cap de Creus (NE Spain)
Direct human pressure on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) adds to climate change impacts on marine habitats, especially in coastal biodiversity hot spots. Understanding MPA user perception towards coastal marine habitats (CMHs) could improve awareness of the challenges that such areas have to face, eventually providing insights for the design of conservation and tourism management plans.
This paper studied the perception of ecosystem services, impacts and threats of CHMs by locals and tourists of Cap de Creus MPA (NW Mediterranean Sea).
Respondents perceived that CMHs provide valuable regulating services, and they assigned less value to cultural services. Locals valued the food provision of ecosystem service of CMHs significantly more than tourists, probably because of the historical importance of fisheries for subsistence. Marine pollution of inland origin, climate change and people’s behaviour towards nature were ranked as the most impactful and threatening to CMHs, and invasive marine species as the least. Respondents also perceived that climate change impacts would increase soon, whilst the impact of people’s behaviour towards nature would decrease. Tourists perceived mass tourism as significantly more impactful and threatening to CMHs than locals did.
The authors conclude that according to their study, the conservation of CMHs is highly valued, so more effort needs to be directed toward this goal.
Mallo et al. (2022) Local and tourist perceptions of coastal marine habitats in Cap de Creus (NE Spain). Regional Environmental Change 22:73.